One of the overwhelmingly terrifying things about the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, is that the people who seem to be backing it on a legislative level don’t really seem to understand a lot about how the internet works.
Entertainment industry propaganda aimed at drumming up public support- which is, to say the least, scant- has focused on assumed damages to commerce by pirated content and unlicensed merchandise, but does little to address what right the industry has to demand a broadly punitive set of regulations on the internet, regulations that are likely to level a lot of honest commerce in its attempt to catch a few rule-breakers.
It may not do a lot to counter the deep-pocketed lobbies that have been pushing for SOPA to pass, but several big names in tech have been invited to Washington to discuss the dangers of SOPA- including Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, security expert Daniel Kaminsky and Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier.
Below, a full statement from the House committee regarding the hearing.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced that the Full Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to examine the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on American cyber-security, jobs and the Internet community. In light of policy proposals affecting the way taxpayers access the Internet, the hearing will also explore federal government strategies to protect American intellectual property without adversely affecting economic growth. The Committee will hear testimony from top cyber-security experts and technology job creators.
“An open Internet is crucial to American job creation, government operations, and the daily routines of Americans from all walks of life,” said Issa. “The public deserves a full discussion about the consequences of changing the way Americans access information and communicate on the Internet today.”
- Mr. Stewart Baker: Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
- Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventures
- Mr. Daniel Kaminsky: Security Researcher and Fortune 500 Advisor
- Mr. Michael Macleod-Ball: Chief of Staff/First Amendment Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
- Mr. Lanham Napier: Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace Hosting
- Dr. Leonard Napolitano: Director, Center for Computer Sciences & Information Technology Sandia National Laboratories
- Mr. Alexis Ohanian: Co-Founder, Reddit.com, and Web Entrepreneur